Sorry for the lack of content recently - between work and family/Christmas related events I haven't really done much birding throughout December! Last night I flew to Halifax to visit Laura and her family, and I will be spending the remainder of the year (and the first few days of January) in Nova Scotia. I figured this would be a good time to put together a post summarizing the year's highlights. Scratch that - I'll make three posts. I don't really have any other content at this point anyways...
Throughout January and February I was able to get out birding a fair bit as I did not have a job yet. Unfortunately I was without a camera for the majority of that period! Observing Ontario's third winter record of Bay-breasted Warbler at Sedgewick Park was a highlight, and fortunately I was able to borrow my mom's camera one day to document it.
|Bay-breasted Warbler - Sedgewick Park, Oakville, Ontario|
Other interesting birds I saw in late winter included a Brant in Haldimand County, a Harris's Sparrow near Cambridge, and a White-winged Dove at Rondeau Provincial Park. Additionally, a Western Grebe persisted along the Toronto waterfront for a while, eventually resorting to hanging out with a group of somewhat similarly looking Red-necked Grebes. One afternoon I photographed the fellow as it displayed to a female Red-necked Grebe.
|Western and Red-necked Grebes - Toronto, Ontario|
|Western Grebe - Toronto, Ontario|
|Western Grebe - Toronto, Ontario|
In March I left Ontario, where winter still held an icy grip, for warmer (and windier) climes in Scotland. Laura is currently studying veterinarian medicine there and I was excited to make my second visit to that part of the world. Between two weeks in Scotland and a few days in France, we were fortunate to share quite a few memorable bird sightings together. Below are some of the photo highlights of the trip...
|Eurasian Oystercatcher - Oban, Scotland|
|Goldcrest - Bois de Boulogne, Paris, France|
|Great Tit - Bois de Boulogne, Paris, France|
|Razorbill - Kirkcaldy, Scotland|
Once I returned in early April I focused my attention on looking for early spring migrants as well as the first reptiles and amphibians of the year. A yearly tradition of mine involves going to a particular set of vernal ponds on the first warmish, rainy nights of the spring to see what I can find. This year was no different...
|Red-bellied Snake - Cambridge, Ontario|
|Spotted Salamander - Cambridge, Ontario|
|Spring Peeper - Cambridge, Ontario|
It was around this time that I sort of unexpectedly fell into my first full-time job. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up and I was starting in early May, so I made the most of my month of April and visited the Pelee area on numerous occasions. Spring was in the air...
|Merlin - Point Pelee NP, Ontario|
|Red-winged Blackbird - Point Pelee NP, Ontario|
|Eastern Foxsnake - Hillman Marsh, Ontario|
|Northern Ribbonsnake - Cambridge, Ontario|
|Midland Painted Turtle - Cambridge, Ontario|
By late April, all hell broke loose in southern Ontario and rarities began appearing after several fronts from the southwest. I was lucky to find a Lark Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, King Eider, and be a part of a Townsend's Warbler find
within several days.
|Lark Sparrow - Erieau, Ontario|
|Henslow's Sparrow - Point Pelee NP, Ontario|
A major highlight of the spring was photographing this Painted Bunting which patronized a feeder near Point Pelee for a few days.
|Painted Bunting - Leamington, Ontario|
By early May I was forced to vacate Point Pelee to begin my job, but fortunately I had quite a bit of interesting fieldwork lined up. Part two will be next, covering May through August.